Three weeks before the start of the 49th edition of the Geko Ypres Rally, Ypres businessman and CEO of Cuckoomobile, Stephen Vankemmel, creates surprise. He engages the French driver Bryan Bouffier in Ypres with at his side the talented Lara Vanneste. They will aim for victory in the sixth round of the European Rally Championship.
Stephen Vankemmel is a regular in Belgian rallysports. For 11 years he was in charge of the security of the Ypres Rally. He often took place behind the wheel of rally cars but in recent years, he argues, through its IT company GSI, future rally talents. “Lara Vanneste, aged 23, is the face of Cuckoomobile my mobile phones and tablets shop. Lara is talented and has made strong impression in the world of rallying in a very short time. We are also very proud to bring her to the start of the Geko Ypres Rally, along a top driver.”
Lara Vanneste will take place alongside the French driver Bryan Bouffier. Aged 34, Bouffier has achieved top performances in recent years. In 2002, he won the “Volant 206” by which he became official Peugeot Sport driver in 2003. Four years later he opened his record of major rally wins with a victory in the Rally d’Antibes. For three straight seasons, he won the Polish Rally Championship. In 2010, he won the French championship and in 2011 he won the legendary Monte Carlo Rally. This year, he is running third in the European Rally Championship after winning the famous Tour de Corse. In Ypres, he wants to repeat the feat with Lara Vanneste at his side, whose reputation is second to none.
Lara Vanneste’s experience of the stages will be crucial for Bouffier.
The Geko Ypres Rally, taking place from June 27 to 29, is more than ever a difficult rally. Its stages are compact and contain many changes compared to previous years, all in a unique atmosphere and a strong national and international competition. The narrow roads, the slippery tarmac as well as the many deep cuts are not the favourite playground of Bryan Bouffier; the role of his new codriver will be crucial.
Codriver Lara Vanneste knows that Ypres Rally is a rally like no other. She’ll dispute this event for the fourth time. Last year, she was alongside “Fast Freddy” Loix when he finished in second place.
Bryan: “I’m very motivated! This is the third time I come to Ypres. I hope the third time will be the right one! I intend to shine. The aim is to defend my third place in the European Championship. With Lara next to me, I have a codriver who has acquired a very good experience and a solid reputation in only a short period of time. ”
The codriver, who lives close to Ypres, shared the cockpit of rally cars with Pieter Tsjoen, Dutchman Kevin Abbring and was last year’s runner-up in the German championship with the promising Christian Riedemann. To her name we can also add the Citroën Racing Trophy title in 2011 as well as winning the Wales Rally GB and the Monte Carlo Rally in S2000. With her language skills, she is known to adjust very fast to a new driver and note system.
She looks forward working with Bryan Bouffier in Ypres: “Bryan is a real ace! We’ve known each other for years and were competing in various rallies and championships. I’m quite proud of driving Ypres with him. Other crews will have to watch us. Ypres is a long and difficult rally. Error-free, we can finish on a good place here! ”
For the record, a week before the Geko Ypres Rally, Bouffier and Vanneste will meet face to face in the Citroen Top Driver during Rally Italy Sardegna, in the World Rally Championship.
Source: Lara Vanneste